Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Do something pretty while you can...

My dashing hero is back from the film archive and so off we go happily adventuring together (Somehow the snow lets us get away with this)
Billy Bragg at the Troxy
Eadweard Muybridge at Tate Britain
Francesca Woodman and Tom Lubbock at Victoria Miro Gallery
Belle and Sebastian at the Barrowlands
Hertie Querty (featuring work by David Shrigley and Art Spiegelman) at GOMA
More excitement:
Unfold have very kindly invited me to illustrate a poster for them next year!
(and a fine new Rapidograph has just arrived in the post)

Thursday, 11 November 2010


 This is for the new issue of Unfold - its out today, so if you're in Amsterdam, grab a copy! 
Its a wonderful poster publication featuring work by some very talented writers, designers and artists, covering  "what's on. where. when. why" in Amsterdam. 

(Here are some of the magical places where you can find a copy).

My illustration is for an article on Amsterdam's International Documentary Film Festival (IDFA), the biggest documentary festival in the world (the little building reflected on the fly's body and wings is the Pathé Tuschinski, where the opening night and awards ceremony will be held.)

Thanks to my art director Russell Joyce at Unfold!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Raincoats, Finlandia, raincoats and lakes, the best words I take along in my field bag...

A lot of the reference pictures I've been looking at for my Christmas cards feature huge groups of Sami children, all looking very sullenly in the direction of the camera. I've tried to make my Sami children look perky...but they've ended up looking slightly crazy instead, haha!

I am now so tempted to get knitting hats and shawls...

Thursday, 4 November 2010

its an old romance, a boho dance, it hasn't gone to sleep...

I'm still struggling to put a face on this fellow. So far my attempts have made him slightly too creepy or morose for Christmas card material. 

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


I've been thinking about early cinema and film tinting for a while now, ever since seeing Film Ist a Girl & a Gun at the Filmmuseum back in April, and because Dan showed me a really beautiful polarised print from the film archive the other week and it blew my mind! Tinting is something I've been meaning to recreate in my work for ages. I think it suits Christmas cards.

This footage was used in Girl & a Gun, the colour was all hand-painted, frame by frame:

Friday, 29 October 2010


I've just finished drawing Pathé Tuschinski.

(More about the building itself here)

Stick Insects and Leaf Insects

Stick insects and leaf insects are my new fascination. I find it incredible that animals can mimic their environment. Leaf insects even behave like leaves to fool predators:

(A 47 million year old fossil of a leaf insect suggests that their present state was established very early on.)

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Amstelpark sketchbook

I'm currently working on an illustration for the next issue of Unfold Amsterdam, which I'm really excited about! 

I've been inspired by the work of Roman Cieslewicz, who once said: 
"To me a picture could never be separated from the content"

I've also been invited to take part in a collaboration called The Exquisite Corpse Project, organised by the lovely Abi Whitehouse (who, along with Desdemona McCannon, creates Doodlezine).

Here are some drawings I made in Amstelpark:

Saturday, 23 October 2010

This sami boy wears the four winds hat - the name comes from the idea that all the winds converge at the north pole.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

I'm making Christmas cards!

They are all based on reindeer and Sami culture. The Sami are the indigenous people of northern Fennoscandia (Sápmi), and their association with reindeer is recorded as long ago as 1000 BC when they were its hunters. By the 1500s they had turned to herding, and in modern day Norway they are now solely responsible for the reindeer herds.

According to,

"Despite the use of technical aids like radio communications and snowmobiles, this occupation is still adapted to the herd's annual cycles."

I've been looking at early (1900-1920s) photographs of them and I am so drawn to the cosy-looking garments, use of patterns, beautiful hats and snow! But I'm aware that they have been misrepresented in the past, and I've been doing my research so that hopefully I do get it right.

I'm also inspired by Alexander Gronsky's series of photographs Less Than One, which I saw earlier this month at Amsterdam's FOAM. His images of Russia have a stark and graphic appearance, primarily because of the amount of white snow in them. Its worth seeing for yourself:

(I've been reading Tintin in Tibet too, which I should also mention features a lot of snow.)

And I've been listening to Bjork:

For this project I'm working with Indian ink and mapping pen on 300gsm gummed watercolour paper, and adding colour digitally. (I've been collecting autumn leaves during my cycle to work for some colours and textures to use.)

This weekend I'm getting some nice prints made of my work, and some cards and postcards printed too, so I will be setting up the shop very soon!!

PS: Here is the black swan of Amstelpark, Amsterdam:
He is a very handsome fellow, very friendly and inquisitive if you decide to sit near the lake, but also a bit of a coward - he can often be seen being chased by a gaggle of noisy ducks and coots.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Online shop coming soon - high quality prints, cards, badges, and original artworks will all shortly be this space!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Jazz (aged 11)

My Jazz. When I was sad, he would always find me. He would sit with me quietly while I painted, and sometimes he would let me draw him. He was a very timid cat, but he would look you right in the eyes. His brother, Hebe, would try to grab his tail when he walked past, and chase him all over the house. When they were kittens they washed each other. They were ill and abandoned, and my dad asked us which one of them we would take home, but of course we couldn't separate them. We picked their names from The She Book of Cats. Jazz was an "exciting cat". He used to sit cool as a cucumber and look at next doors dog through the wire fence and conifer trees while the dog went insane at him. He especially liked to be stroked on the forehead, on the spot just above his nose, and scratched under the chin. He would stretch out and we would stroke his soft belly and tiny ribs and he'd stretch even further, plucking with his claws. Some nights he would wake me up at 2am, miaowing and miaowing, and I'd call to him "Its alright Jazz!" and then he'd be off, back into the night. He just wanted to know we were there.

He was like a sleek black panther and I loved him.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

(one of my illustrations from Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince, Illustrated Book, 2006)

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

This week I have been on a disability training course, learning all about conditions such as Autism, Aspergers and Dyslexia, visual impairment, physical disability, deafness, sign language and Deaf culture. It was really fascinating and I've learnt so much, so I'm planning to make some poster designs promoting awareness pretty soon.

The thing that surprised me most was discovering that sign language had once been banned worldwide (at the Second International Congress on the Education of the Deaf, Milan 1880).

Also, it was only as recently as 2003 that British Sign Language (BSL) was officially recognised as a language in Britain, and many countries still do not recognise their own native sign languages. 

I really want to make some posters to draw attention to this, and to encourage more people to learn sign language, because I can see the importance of learning it myself.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

I've been trying to design the main character's house for my comic book. I want it to have an art nouveau appearance, to reflect the theme of nature throughout the story. This is one of the houses I've drawn in my sketchbook. It still needs some developing. The script is coming along nicely, so hopefully I'll be putting up a few more images soon!

Friday, 3 September 2010

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

- Mark Twain

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Animal Masks

I'm trying to use more colour in my work. These are some animal masks which will feature in my comic book.

Saturday, 28 August 2010



I have a little book of Marcus Aurelius's Meditations and it always puts things in perspective. He was a Roman emperor at the height of its power but his philosophy is quite stoic, its about getting on with things and being true to your own nature and not letting bad things stop you from being a good person. I made this little book for my dad while I was in my 2nd year at Falmouth and I've just found it again. (Click on images to enlarge)

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Blue Willow Alphabet

After drawing my china pig, I thought I'd try to make a willow pattern alphabet.

The pattern has quite a fascinating mythology behind it, containing varying stories about runaway lovers, an illegal society, and the burning of a monastery. (However, it is not clear whether these tales came from China or Staffordshire.)

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Penny Pigglington

This is a little drawing I've just done of Penny Pigglington, the infamous moneybox pig. He lives in a cash register and jingles wherever he goes. Pip Chorley and I imagined him and his many follies during a conversation a while back and now he won't leave us alone.

from my sketchbook...

Sunday, 15 August 2010

comic book front cover (development)

I've developed the front cover a bit, to relate more to the story. It still needs some tweaking, but I'm happy with the way its going. Any suggestions are welcome!

Friday, 13 August 2010

"If this isn't nice, I don't know what is"

And now I want to tell you about my late Uncle Alex. He was my father’s kid brother, a childless graduate of Harvard who was an honest life insurance salesman in Indianapolis. He was well-read and wise. And his principal complaint about other human beings was that they so seldom noticed it when they were happy. So when we were drinking lemonade under an apple tree in the summer, say, and talking lazily about this and that, almost buzzing like honeybees, Uncle Alex would suddenly interrupt the agreeable blather to exclaim, ''If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.''
So I do the same now, and so do my kids and grandkids. And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ''If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.''

- Kurt Vonnegut

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Silly One

A wonderful and very inspiring past few weeks with my man, which included:

2 nitrate film screenings at the BFI - one technicolour nitrate, The Yearling, (which Dan explained is considered true technicolour film) and one black and white nitrate, Brighton Rock, which really glowed, and has stayed on my mind for a long time. It was a shame that more people didn't turn up to the screenings because this was a rare chance to see actual nitrate stock.

A documentary on Jack Cardiff followed by Powell and Pressburger's The Red Shoes at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, and a stroll around Hyde Park, all spent with my dear friend Pip Chorley (who's work you can see here).

Original Beatrix Potter drawings from her first book The Tale of Peter Rabbit at the V&A

A thorough collection of Roman Cieslewicz' work at the Royal College of Art...(completely stunning, with not a weak piece in the lot).

A visit to the London Film museum, the White Cube and the BookArtBook shop.

Ozu's first talkie, The Only Son

A lovely day trip to Brighton, chips on the beach and lots of comic book buying (some David B, The Unwritten, and lots of TMNT for Dan)

A holiday in Morthhoe, Devon with lots of walks, rope swings, dips in the sea, jellyfish, jigsaws, tiny travel scrabble games, amusing sheep and cornish ale.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


This is a poster I've been working on, for Alfred Hitchcock's Rope - a film about two men who kill another man with a piece of rope, hide him in a trunk, and then stage a dinner party using the trunk as the dinner table. 

(It also features James Stewart's voice, which is quite fun to imitate...)

On the subject of Hitchcock, the BFI is currently trying to raise money to restore 9 silent Hitchcock films: